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“New Salem Sue”

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1974. New Salem exit 127, I-94
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

Not every roadside colossus is worthy of mention, but the Holstein known statewide as “New Salem Sue” is striking, and has several important associations with this community. Built by the New Salem Lions Club for forty thousand dollars as a tribute to local dairy farmers, the “World’s Largest Holstein Cow” is a fiberglass sculpture prominently situated on a high butte between New Salem and I-94. With “New Salem” proudly spelled out in rockwork, “Sue” stands as a landscape colossus thirty-eight feet high and fifty feet long. She is visible for several miles. Promoting Holstein dairy farming in the area around New Salem was an important achievement advocated by the state dairy school at the agricultural college in Fargo (now North Dakota State University). Visitors willing to pay the nominal admission fee for a close-up encounter with Sue will appreciate the coin collecting system that incorporates a modified machine milking apparatus as a coin receptor. Good-natured puns persist, including the Udder Bar in downtown New Salem. This landmark reflects favorably on North Dakotans’ inclination to not take themselves too seriously, while commemorating a local industry of great economic significance. Dairy farmers in this region have helped improve the dairying herds in such remote places as Uzbekistan, supplying farmers in that nation with prime breeding stock, flown on a 747 aircraft.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay



Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "“New Salem Sue”", [New Salem, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 163-163.

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